Turkey mulling plans for third vaccine dose

Turkey mulling plans for third vaccine dose

Turkey mulling plans for third vaccine dose

Turkey is mulling plans to administer a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines, also known as a booster dose, in the months to come as the country further expanded the inoculation drive by adding new groups to the jabbing program.

Officials will have a busy schedule this summer in the fight against the pandemic, including executing the vaccination program in an effective way and countering the anti-vaccine sentiment.

The other item on their agenda will be making plans for administering the third dose.

Depending on the results, the Health Ministry will decide whether the Pfizer/BioNTech, the Chinese jab or the locally developed injection should be administered as the booster.

Initially, different jabs will be administered for trials and antibody levels will be measured, which will help officials decide which vaccine to choose as the booster.

An antibody map will be drawn based on the samples collected and a decision will be made as to when the booster dose should be administered.

Officials expect the third doses to be given intensively in 2022.

After the age-based vaccination program is completed, authorities will determine whether the 70 percent immunization rate is achieved among the public.

Depending on the results, different options will be considered, including the deployment of mobile jabbing units, which would be set up at the main squares of the cities as well as resort towns and rural areas in a bid to combat vaccine hesitancy, said the officials.

Record number of vaccinations

Over the past weeks, Turkey accelerated the speed of vaccinations by adding new age and profession groups, and the public has been very responsive.

On June 14, 842,000 jabs were administered which marked a record number of vaccines given in a single day.

“We administered 92,494 more doses than our target,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter.

As the vaccination drive, which was launched in mid-January, gained further momentum, all employees registered with the country’s social security institution also started to receive their first doses of the COVID-19 injections.

Data from the Health Ministry show that the number of total vaccinations passed the 35-million mark.

More than 21.2 million people have received their first doses, while nearly 13.9 million have been fully vaccinated.